Beer: Whitewater's Hallion Red still satisfies from the can
HALLION Red from Co Down brewers Whitewater has been doing the rounds for many months now. With its initial release confined to draught sales, it has proved popular while flowing through taps in many Belfast bars and further afield.
Now, this red ale has found its way into cans, the second Whitewater beer to do so following Upstream Tangerine which marked their move from Kilkeel to Castlewellan.
As the colder evenings draw in, I've always enjoyed a nice malty red ale – and this one ticks the boxes.
Coming in a 330ml can, Hallion Red pours a deep ruby red colour with a fluffy white head. It has a very inviting looking, especially for lovers of red and dark ales.
There's plenty of the maltiness you'd expect from this style on the nose with bready aromas with hints of dark, dried fruits.
Once you get it onto the palate, there's a fair bit going on. The mouthfeel is thin, but there are some complex flavours. You get those dark fruit and roasty flavours you'd expect from a red ale and then there are hints of coffee and treacle.
It comes in at a perfectly manageable 4.2 per cent and is widely available in many local off licences and on draught in selected pubs.
Whitewater is one of a number of local brewers that will be pitching up at the upcoming Belfast Beer and Cider Festival in the Ulster Hall.
The longest running beer festival in Northern Ireland, it is backed by Camra and features a dazzling array of keg and cask beers. From its beginnings in the early 90s when Whitewater and Hilden were the only two local beermakers featured, the festival has seen a steady rise in the number of Irish beers to the point that they now dominate the selection available.
There are still a handful of breweries from across Britain sending beers across the water, with widely-popular award-winning Welsh brewers Tiny Rebel lining up alongside over 20 Irish breweries.
The festival runs from Thursday, November 8 to Saturday, November 10 from 12pm to 11pm each day. You can buy all-day tickets at £7, while card-carrying Camra and Beoir members can enter for a discounted £3.
If you fancy sneaking out for a quick lunch-time pint, you can enter between 12 and 2pm for a discounted rate of £2 with a lunchtime only ticket, and there's also a discounted rate of £3 for designated drivers.